NCLR Escalera Program: Taking Steps to Success
In 2001, NCLR, in collaboration with and through the support of PepsiCo Foundation and PepsiCo, Inc., created the Escalera Program: Taking Steps to Success. Expanded with the support of Shell, the program promotes economic mobility for Latino youth by increasing educational attainment, career planning, and access to information about advanced careers. The program aligns with NCLR’s goals to eliminate barriers to employment and economic mobility while increasing the capacity of NCLR Affiliates to provide effective workforce development, education, and leadership services for Latino youth. The intent of the Escalera Program is to design a replicable program model for serving Latino youth that NCLR Affiliates throughout the country can implement. The program’s principal components are career exploration, technology skills development, leadership development, personal development, and academic support.
NCLR, with its Affiliates, has customized the Escalera model to address various youth population needs and create awareness about high-demand careers.
- Disconnected Youth Model (HELP – New Mexico, Inc.) NCLR has partnered with the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions and Commission for Community Volunteerism to design, test, and refine a pilot model of the Escalera Program that serves disconnected Latino youth in rural areas. Disconnected youth are also being served in Los Angeles and Austin.
- Early Escalera Program (Instituto del Progreso Latino and AltaMed Health Services Corporation) In partnership with the Best Buy Children’s Foundation, the Early Escalera Program serves high school sophomores in Chicago and Los Angeles and monitors the impact of earlier intervention.
- Alumni Pilot (AltaMed Health Services Corporation) In 2010, with support from Marriott International Inc., NCLR awarded a subgrant to design, test, and refine a 12-month alumni program to provide Escalera graduates with ongoing support to increase their postsecondary retention and track them as they enter the workforce.
- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) (KIPP Houston) In 2007, NCLR partnered with Shell to fund and implement a STEM-focused program model in Houston.
- According to the Pew Hispanic Center, the national high school completion rate for Hispanics is 73%. To date, 88% of students who have enrolled in the Escalera Program have successfully completed the program and graduated from high school.
- According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 44% of Hispanic high school graduates were attending college. To date, 87% of Escalera Program graduates have chosen a path to upward economic mobility by enrolling in postsecondary institutions. Escalera graduates are persisting in college past year one at an average rate of 89%.
- The 2011 graduating cohort of the Escalera Program earned a combined total of $779,675 in scholarships.
Update on Program Successes
- The Escalera Program was presented at the following conferences: 2010 Annual Members Forum of National Youth Employment Coalition, 24th Annual Conference of Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, 2011 NCLR Annual Conference, and 2011 Youth Symposium of the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals.
- NCLR published Beyond the Classroom: Creating Pathways to College and Careers for Latino Youth, an evaluation of the Escalera Program. The two-year study compares the college and career preparation of Escalera students and non-Escalera students.
- NCLR published Plugged In: Positive Development Strategies for Disconnected Latino Youth, which profiles the disconnected youth pilot of the Escalera Program and addresses the obstacles faced by young Hispanics who are disconnected from school and work.
- The NCLR Escalera Program and One Economy partnered to implement the Digital Connectors Program, which works to deliver the power of technology and information to low-income people. Seven NCLR Affiliates instructed 100 young participants to serve as digital literacy instructors and completed over 6,900 community service hours nationwide.
For more information contact:
Felicia Medellin, Escalera Program Manager
|"Escalera means a lot to me. This program not only prepares us for college, but life in general. Yes, it provided us with a scholarship, but there is more to it than just that. The staff make sure we get into college and pursue our education. They mentor us. They tutor us. Escalera is there to help us and encourage us. I appreciate everything that Escalera has given me.” —Anna Zheng, ’09 Graduate of Kelly High School in Chicago.|